By Jules Davis-Dufayard

In Autumn 2023, Amanda Piña was invited to host an artistic research studio at the Academy of Theatre and Dance, Amsterdam as part of the research project, Climate Imaginaries at Sea. The studio led by the ATD Lectorate focusses on global South and indigenous perspectives asking: How can artistic research invite engagement with indigenous and global South water and climate knowledges in the European context? The following text is a commissioned reflection by recent Sandberg graduate, Jules Davis-Dufayard who attended the public events of Amanda’s studio, The School of Mountains and Waters.

Agua es Futuro!’ walk in Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen (6th October 2023) - photo credit Thomas Lenden
Agua es Futuro!’ walk in Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen (6th October 2023) – photo credit Thomas Lenden

Introduction

When Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca asked me to write a reflection piece on Amanda Piña’s recent events in Amsterdam: “Water Talks” and “Agua es Futuro!”, I felt grateful for the opportunity to spend some time reflecting on these experiences and giving my thoughts a written form that could be shared beyond my notebook. As an artist/facilitator still quite new to the Netherlands (having moved here from Manchester to study the temporal MA Ecologies of Transformation directed by Camille Sapara Barton at Sandberg Instituut), the mycorrhizal network by which I’m connected to other artists, researchers and organisations is still quite young and in the stage of slowly and joyfully growing beyond the Rietveld/Sandberg space, so I’m always happy to connect with new like-minded people and their practice.

Through “The School of Mountains and Waters”, Amanda Piña and her team of collaborators “recognise mountains as living bodies actively involved in the re-production of water. The different activities of the school invite to establish caring relationships between human bodies and bodies of mountains, glaciers and water. A school of unlearning the modern/colonial assumptions of the human as pre-existent and separate from that which sustains its life.” In Amsterdam, this recently took the shape of “Water Talks”, an evening of talks by local experts from different fields who all have a specific approach to water: benthic ecology, water governance, geoscience, critical ocean studies, as well as Leonel Lienlaf, Mapuche poet and close collaborator of Amanda. This event was followed by “Agua es Futuro!” an afternoon walk led by Amanda Piña and Leonel Lienlaf through the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, where ⅔ of Amsterdam’s drinking water is harvested.

My own artistic practice aims, through collective outdoors experiences, to nurture transformation that can support social change. It can take the shape of facilitated walks, workshops, embodied writing, video… For example, it led me to co-create a community garden project, Let’s Keep Growing, with Mo Blue, a social worker and fellow member of the housing co-op I was part of in Manchester. Since moving to Amsterdam and studying the MA, I have been deepening my knowledge of embodied social justice, and supporting my artistic research through this. My MA thesis investigated how embodied practices and rituals with nature can help foster the active participation and contribution of white people towards racial and climate justice, by nurturing reciprocal relationships with the more-than-human-world and developing a more rooted sense of self alongside critical whiteness education. This led me to explore embodied pre/decolonial forms of knowledge, beginning with an examination of precolonial European cosmologies and the evolution of the definition of “nature”, to understand the separation brought about by the invention of nature and whiteness. I investigated collective, seasonal walks and rituals as spaces to practice remedial strategies, and more specifically delved into the practice of cold-water swimming as a way of physically experiencing decolonial and Emergent Strategy concepts such as non-duality, and increasing the capacity to feel sensation and stay with discomfort, contextualising learnings from adrienne maree brown’s Pleasure Activism for white bodies. Needless to say, Amanda’s events really sparked my curiosity!

Part 1 “Water Talks” (28th September 2023)

Arie Vonk – photo credit Thomas Lenden

The series of talks started with Arie Vonk, Benthoecologist, describing water as a driving force, connecting and shaping ecosystems and all life, as materials will come down with water, and organisms will be transported downstream or migrate upwards along water flows. Benthic ecology is the study of ecosystems at the bottoms of lakes, rivers, estuaries, oceans and other bodies of water, to determine environmental health. Organisms modify their environments, and humans are “ecosystem engineers”, as are plants, coral, beavers… However, one fundamental distinction between “humans” (we’ll question the term “human” later) and natural environments approaches, is that “humans” tend to want to create harsh barriers between water bodies (land / freshwater / sea). These harsh separations limit natural processes and lead to environments who have very low, or no dynamics. Arie Vonk concluded his talk by stating that “water and nature dance, while humans compartmentalise the dancefloor.”

Leonel Lienlaf reading in Spanish, translated from to English by Cecilia Vallejos (artist and researcher) and Amanda Piña – photo credit Thomas Lenden

Leonel Lienlaf, a key figure in Mapuche poetry, followed, keeping our attention to the beings in the water, “feeling other things, and seeing other things than us”, reminding us that no way of looking is definite. Art, this old practice common to all people, can be like a window, a well, through which to look at possible worlds. Leonel made the time of this event expand to encompass multiple, non-linear times, proposing that water is the memory of this earth, of the becoming of territory. As a poet who also practices traditional Mapuche song, or ÜI, chanting to water (not just “about” water) deeply shapes his relation to water: “water is the memory of the chants our ancestors sang in the past; when we chant to water, we remind water of our old alliance.” And it reminds us of that alliance too: Amanda pointed out that the forest restoration work that Leonel is involved in, isn’t just about restoring the forest, but also about restoring our memory and relation to the forest. A work of restoring ourselves in relation to/as part of the territory, which we experienced on the walk that followed in Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen. 

Farhad Mukhatarov – photo credit Thomas Lenden

From this multiverse consciousness, we were abruptly brought back to the effects of colonial thinking and Dutch neo colonial practices by Farhad Mukhatarov’s vital research on social inclusivity (or lack thereof) in water governance and water policy. The Netherlands, trying to market themselves as a “global hydro-hub”, has been exporting its “polder expertise” into other places with big deltas such as Indonesia, Mozambique, Vietnam, Colombia, or in Bangladesh, where their interventions completely backfired. Farhad shared videos and photos of disappearing Bangladeshi rivers, where Dutch technology is leading to issues of drainage shortage and water logging. With “polder expertise” turning into “polder arrogance”, I was mortified at these bleak examples of how the western self-titled “qualified”, racist environmentalist ego can have such dramatic effects on whole ecosystems. Dutch water experts apply their own knowledge to a new context while disregarding the local knowledge that has been gathered over time as part of the territory’s knowledge. It was a reminder for me to get more specific on which water and which beings I’m working with, and to get even more curious on the histories of the water-land-people relations in the territories I am part of.

Mikki Stelder – photo credit Thomas Lenden

Mikki Stelder (interdisciplinary researcher, writer and learner) took us further on this path of reckoning with the legacies and ongoing violence of the Plantationocene, by sharing an extract of their upcoming volume “Oceans as Archives”. In their lecture/performance accompanied by footage of water gleaned over the years, Mikki shared ongoing research on the Leusden – a Dutch slaveship that “shipwrecked on New Year’s Eve in the year 1737 off the coast of Surinam, resulting in the largest mass murder aboard a slave ship in the history of the transatlantic slave trade.” Mikki asks: “how to attend to a massacre that has been reduced to a footnote in the historiography of the slave trade. How to write within the academic genre while remembering and honoring the dead?” 

While looking to Black Feminist epistemology being both a work of mourning and of aliveness, Mikki ponders: “As a white Dutch person, I do not know how and if I can engage in a practice of wake-work and I am not claiming that I am doing this here, I do keep around the tension. [but I have to contend with this ship that keeps calling and find ways not to get over the violence of the past, but to find humility in the face of liberatory futurities].” This level of precision, directness and intentionality coming from a white researcher is inspiring for me, and feels very unusual in the European context, as I so often notice white writers and artists ignoring their own positionality as white people, as unlearning capitalist and individualistic tendencies (for instance) necessarily entails at least trying to understand how one’s whiteness shapes our thinking and actions.

Maarten Kleinhans – photo credit Thomas Lenden

The last presentation of the evening was by Maarten Kleinhans, and as an example of the porosity between the talks and practices shared that night, I assumed during the event that Maarten was an artist working with science, but found out afterwards it was the other way around! As a professor of Biogeomorphology of rivers and estuaries, Maarten’s main research interests include effects of sea level rise and climate change, aiming to understand how dynamic patterns of sand, mud and vegetation form and change by replicating them in computer models and with creative modes of expression such as music. Maarten expanded my perception of time again by sharing how the topology of the Netherlands has evolved over the last few millennia, with water, sand and mud forming the land. Already 3000 years ago, the deforestation carried out in what is now called Germany led to clay being carried along rivers to this delta, which Maarten said would be more accurately described as an archipelago and a swamp.  With all due respect and gratitude to swamp beings, the idea of Dutch water officials mentioned earlier by Farhad having to reckon with the fact they’re heads of “swamp” rather than “delta” management organisations (and are failing terribly at applying their swamp knowledge to different contexts) brought some lightness to the otherwise bleak prospect of the official Dutch bodies’ approaches to sea level rise. 

The deep time practice of zooming out to get a multiple millenia perspective, paired with Mikki’s reminder that the Netherlands only officially became a country in 1648, felt like a much needed contribution to provincialising modern colonial thought: putting it back in its place as one of many epistemologies. Amanda named the “anthropo-not-seen”: a term that suggests the logic that if you haven’t seen alternatives to capitalism, you can’t see them. This event reminded me that the “world where many worlds fit” is already there, if we dare to look and listen to the beings at the bottom of the water.

Altar in the centre of the circle formed by the panelists and attendees – photo credit Thomas Lenden

By the end of the talks, I remember telling the friend lying next to me on the giant cushion, that my head felt very full and the rest of my body a little numb, and that I was actually craving being out and near/in water. It reminded me of attending extracurricular events at my former school, reading theory and feeling exhausted by the glaring ceiling light… part of a whole programme relating to water, yet as far as I’m aware, not one of the events were taking place in/nearby water. These missed opportunities of taking the classroom outdoors always puzzle me, as we end up interacting with land and water one step removed, within soilless academies. I appreciate the logistical weight and accessibility challenges working outdoors can bring, and that’s something I have been actively trying to change through organising regular, seasonal walks, including with Walking Bodies, Becoming Wavicles (with Effy Fu and Sophie Dandanell). So I was really excited to know that Part 2 would be taking us on a walk through the Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen, guided by Amanda and Leonel, as these outdoors excursions otherwise often end up only happening on the individual, informal or small group level.

Part 2 “Agua es Futuro!” (6th October 2023)

Amanda Piña – photo credit Thomas Lenden

In her introductory reading at the start of the walk, honoring part of her lineage and acknowledging the wider currents that her practice is part of, Amanda dedicated her life’s work to the “disentanglement from the chains of the one-world default forms of thinking”, to “that which is impossible to understand with human logic, with modern, colonial ontologies”, to “remembering”, to “dancing the old-new dances”. To this end, Amanda invited us to temporarily rewire our senses, and look/smell/taste/hear/feel with our fingers/ears/eyes/noses/tongues. This rewiring, and the colourful feathers delicately and steadfastly attached to each of Amanda’s nails, drew my attention to my own hands, their potential to be pointing/grabbing/recording/cutting/dividing, encouraging me into a practice of honorable harvesting, becoming fingers that witness, that don’t materially possess.

Amanda and Leonel invited us to learn from the four elements, taking us on a walk with 4 locations: air, earth, fire, water. 

Walk participants in the first location: air – photo credit Thomas Lenden

Air – listening / ‘nature’

After a moment of sounding and humming with the trees around us in the first location, Amanda clarified that this work isn’t about “connecting” with “nature”, because we are nature and any phrasing around “connecting” would be reinforcing the colonial nature/culture divide. Amanda reminded us that the territory we are walking through was once tended to by people with indigenous animist practices. The intention here is to remember, or “dream what cannot be remembered” but is still somehow present in our bodies, as we all come from people who once were animist.

In my research as part of my Master’s thesis “The invention of nature, whiteness and remembering embodied aliveness” I looked into the ways in which racism, sexism and nature – the 3 pillars of the colonial matrix of power – were invented by the imagination of the European ruling class, as interconnected systems that would enable extractivism. In On Decoloniality, Walter D. Mignolo and Catherine E. Walsh trace back the origins of the words ‘human’ and ‘humanity’ and how untranslatable they are in cultures outside Europe. Talking about ‘humans’ risks universalising extractive practices which actually have very traceable origins in European Renaissance and modernity, where the universalising was itself a tool of epistemological destruction.

They also demonstrate the evolution of the meaning of the term ‘nature’ in Europe, from Old French and Latin definitions (“natura”) from the late 13th and 14th Century, to the 17th Century: “restorative powers of the body”, “powers of growth”, “nature being”, “principle of life”, “character”, “to give birth”, “creation”, “innate disposition”, “mother nature”… Nature was defined “specifically as material world beyond civilisation or society” from the 1660s, and nature and nurture have been “contrasted since 1874”.

I remember a multiplicity of feelings when I read Mignolo and Walsh: surprise that “nature” also used to mean a much more dynamic process in Europe; excitement in realising that Europeans, too, used to make sense of the world through animist cosmologies, which were erased or sent underground over millennia by the Roman colonisation, Christianisation, the witch burnings, enclosures, industrialisation…; grief at the extent of the erasure; and stuckness: how to engage with this history, knowing that most of those cultures were/are oral cultures?

In the context of this article and these 2 events by Amanda, I want to focus on two points of friction in my bodymind in relation to these questions, which I have moved through several times, and which came up again for me and found new openings thanks to Amanda and Leonel’s grounding and sharing of Amerindian cosmologies and approaches: 

One is about the relation between the loaded terms: “animism”, “animal”, “human” and “nature”. I have already mentioned the Eurocentrism of the terms “human” and “nature”. Trying to “reconnect with nature” by stating “we are all actually animals” or “we are nature”, or “we are nature defending itself” can be tricky if it doesn’t acknowledge the ways in which, historically, people of the Global South have been and are still associated by European colonisers with their own definition of “nature”. This definition of “nature” as in “resources, that are inferior to human culture and civilisation and can be extracted”, is a justification for ongoing genocide, ecocide and epistemicide. People of the Global South have worked and still work so hard to prove that they were, in fact, different from that “nature” that the colonisers assigned them to.

This Eurocentric framework is completely turned on its head by the fact that, “for many Amerindian cultures, at the creation of the world animals were humans. For Amerindians, the original condition common to humans and animals is not animality but humanity.” Amanda Piña’s recent project School of the Jaguar “wishes to destabilise, by practice and discourse, on the scale of the theatre space, the universal claims of Western thought in order to think beyond its system of oppression”. Reading this anthropological “bomb” as Amanda calls it, was another moment of experiencing a glimpse of the vastness of pre/decolonial thought. Another reminder of the provinciality and lack of imagination of European “universalism” and colonial thought.

Another point of “tension” in my bodymind, which came up again for me at the start of the walk, and which I’m by now used to welcoming with curiosity and compassion, is my sense of perfectionism, of wanting to “get these earth practices right”, and fear that they might reinforce oppression if mixed up with whiteness “training”. And for sure, engaging in earth-based practices as a white person, without engaging in critical whiteness deschooling, can lead to characteristics of white supremacy culture coming up (as they inevitably will, even with continuous critical whiteness education). But as I elaborate in my thesis, earth-based practices can be supportive in the process of unlearning whiteness training and learning to move and act in alignment with our values. One of the many reasons is the fact they help us let go of control and perfectionism by working in open environments which we cannot “control”, and also because most pre-Christian cultures were spoken cultures, we aren’t going to find exact “instructions” or step by step guides, and instead need to practice getting comfortable with the unknown, doing what we don’t know how to do, or as Amanda puts it, “dreaming what cannot be remembered”.

During the talks and walk, this tension in me also carried the specific flavour of fear of cultural appropriation. I remember feeling a slight (and familiar) discomfort at the start of the practice of sounding with trees guided by Leonel. I relaxed into it, trusting Leonel and Amanda, remembering Amanda sharing at the start of the talks the week before that it was high time that Europe would start to learn from South America after centuries of colonisation. To the question “can we re-embody indigenous dances?” Amanda answers that “If I re-embody indigenous dances, they are not indigenous anymore, they become creolised”, and highlights the western, artificial nature of the neat division line between modern and traditional, between indigenous and contemporary, between native and invasive. From the research I did with people who also do cold-water swimming, I have come to understand it as an embodied/spiritual practice which, amongst many things, enables one to physically experience, even for a short moment, decolonial concepts such as non-duality. This is also related to the emergent strategy principle of the “wavicle” (being able to be supposedly opposite things at the same time: a wave and a particle). Physically experiencing this depth and complexity helps embed these theoretical learnings into our somas.

In Desentierros/Unearthings, Lina Bravo Mora reclaims the mestizxs identity as a “liminal state of cohabitation”. I am grateful to have learned from Lina as a fellow Ecologies of Transformation student, and to keep learning alongside her, about the specificity of the whiteness project as it was/is carried out in South America (destabilising my inherited European-North-American history of whiteness), and how the context specific strategies of divorcing from whiteness, and the Communitarian, Territorial and Decolonial feminisms of Abya Yala can also inspire similar movements in Europe. 

Earth – belonging

In my thesis research, while looking into the hows and whys of remembering our belonging to the more-than-human-world (for want of a better term), I came across Aurora Levins Morales’ definition of belonging: as not being about place, but about being part of a web of relationships, both rooted in a historical sense of self (understanding how and why our ancestors came to where we are), and moving with curiosity in any ecosystem we enter. This definition came to my mind while listening to Amanda and Leonel in the second site of our walk, being with the element of “earth”, and thinking with a plant which Amanda and Leonel’s guide had labeled “invasive” and violently uprooted during their preparatory walk.

Amanda’s work of creolisation, combined with Lina’s reclaiming of mestizxs identity, brings some precision and practicality to my otherwise perhaps quite theoretical or falsely universal approach to concepts of belonging, movement and migration.

Walk participant Müge Yilmaz and Amanda Piña replanting the plant that Amanda uprooted – photo credit Thomas Lenden

Sophie Strand mourns the uprooting of myths from the soils they were birthed in, as the invention of the written word, and the recording of spoken myths led to them traveling out of their ecosystems of origin. Yet, in the globalised ecosystems we live in, perhaps we can also reclaim this capacity for myths to travel with people and communication technologies, for the old/new myths and queer, abolitionist, decolonial futures that this time calls for to be birthed?

Intuition

These new myths need space to unfold. From our whole bodies, not just our rational minds.

These “other forms of knowing” which Amanda devoted her work to, are often pushed to the side in academies, where we usually don’t give enough time to physical experience, reflection, and integration into our bodies. Even as I have been working with somatic practices for years, I still feel this academic supremacy in me, giving more importance to sharing theory than to framing an experience and holding space for people, asking myself: “What if nothing happens? What if I/participants don’t feel anything?” This mistrust and dismissal of intuition, “the body’s intimate knowing, based on how the nervous system is operating in relation to experiences” makes sense, since there is a deep relation between the spread of whiteness and the mistrust of intuition. Among many other things, the invention of whiteness was a direct attack on femme bodies that used intuitive power in public (birthwork, medicine, etc). Over the last couple years, I have been lucky enough to learn from Joy Mariama Smith, Camille Sapara Barton, Char CA and Mar Maiques to name and honor a few, to trust that “something will happen” if I turn my habits around and give more time in a workshop to our bodies than to academic theory. Given enough space, our squished intuition, crushed under the weight of academic supremacy, ableism, fatphobia, and all the other ‘isms’ that separate us from our bodies of knowledge, will start to unfold and feel and make sense of experiences again. Each time I experience this in a new context, with a new facilitator and a new group (as was the case on the walk), it is a reminder of the importance and fertility of this embodied approach. Having been hosting intuitive seasonal walks and outdoors workshops for several years now, I love how great a format they are, as unscripted/loosely scripted experiences, for emergence and improvisation: not knowing exactly what the terrain or weather will be like, which other beings will be breathing alongside us as we walk, who I might end up walking alongside… and I appreciated being able to attend the walk “solely” as a participant, not having to facilitate anything, being able to really listen to myself, when I wanted to pause and stay with a plant or a stream of water for a bit longer, when I wanted to walk up to a friend in the group..

Repetition / Seasons

Speaking of repetition: an essential component of embodied transformation and embodied social justice (100 repetitions would bring muscle memory, and 1000 repetitions, embodiment), I often find it lacking in the artworld. Each practice involves an intention, an embodied element, and repetition: each time we do it, we learn something new. Our practice is what we are always doing no matter what, sometimes we get to share it with the world. Yet with the way academic, art and charity funding are (currently) designed, I find myself constantly expected to produce newness, to show some kind of visible growth. For a while I even felt like I only got to experience my practice when I was sharing it with others, since so much time has to be dedicated to applications. Having co-facilitated a walk through Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen back in February 2023, I was therefore grateful for the opportunity to walk back to this land, in a different season, with a different group and route. My first walk there was for Imbolc: the festival associated with spring slowly making itself known (if you look close enough to the ground) even if it still feels like the dead of winter. This time, early October, we found ourselves between the Autumn Equinox and Halloween: during this day, while orienting in this environment, I was orienting to the fact that winter was coming, that even if I didn’t feel it yet, the days were going to get shorter and colder. Mentally and physically, I was preparing myself for hibernation. During my first walk there, we walked through the Waterleidingduinen all the way to the sea, in a clear, fairly straight line, following the sun. This time was a completely different experience: I lost my bearings and just let myself be guided, not trying to keep track of a sense of the cardinal points. I was surprised at the end to come back to the body of water where we’d started the walk: to be back by this body of water after having spiraled around it, both of us transformed by the experience. This reminded me of the pre-enclosure collective ritual of “Beating the Bounds” described by Isabelle Frémeaux and Jay Jordan: the community going on a walk around the limits of the common land, beating the path with sticks as they walk, embodying the map of the community by walking it, supports the group to both feel like a group, and to feel part of the land. 

3rd location: fire – photo credit Thomas Lenden

Fire – shame

In our third site, Amanda took us to the remains of a German bunker, part of the Atlantic Wall from WWII, inviting us to place both our palms on its walls and listen. Amanda talked about the ways in which this territory still holds the history of this violence. I realised I have been thinking about “older” violence on these lands like the witch hunts, the enclosures and how they have shaped whiteness and enabled colonisation and still shape our current society and perpetrate violence, but haven’t been thinking as much about the legacy of WWII in the Netherlands. A lot of the critical whiteness material I come across is very US/North America-focussed, and some work of translation and adaptation is needed in the European context. I remembered at a workshop near Berlin, hearing from a Black German person about the difficulty of living as a Black German in a country where “you just know that anyone who was still alive in Germany by the end of WWII, had somehow been complicit in the Holocaust.”

I thought of the necessity to work with this white shame too, so it doesn’t turn into Holocaust guilt that leads to inaction in the face of both islamophobia and antisemitism, or support of Zionism. Especially as white EuroChristian people have played a key role in Zionism since its inception, and Christian Zionists outnumber Jewish Zionists by far.

Water – deep time

At the very end of the walk, when we were back at the body of water we had started with. Amanda pointed out that drinking water wasn’t being “produced” here, but rather “harvested”, and reminded us of the bigger, longer patterns of water submerging lands to heal itself and the earth. Water can be both full of life giving force, and a carrier of dis-ease and destruction. Expanding our awareness back to deep time, this took me back to a lasting purpose of earth-based practices: to nurture a sense of awe and reverence for our environment, to remind humans of their tiny, insignificant place in a much bigger and stronger network of relations, which existed long before we did, and will keep existing long after we do.

The walk in Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen happened on October 6th, 2023, the day before Hamas’ attack, the Israeli retaliation and months of genocidal violence which followed and is still ongoing. Like many people who are lucky enough not to be “directly” affected by the events, my life went on pause that following week as I watched the violence unfold, and my disbelief and disgust grew at the global North powers who kept supporting Israel as the genocide of Palestinians became clearer and clearer. So did the fractal ramification of the colonial matrix of power, down to the artistic and academic institutions, who have benefitted from the labour and voices of historically oppressed communities, here so often aligning with the oppressor, and refusing to condone a genocide, epistemicide and ecocide happening in real time. To paraphrase Flavia Dzodan, “my decolonial practice will lead to present-day anticolonial action or it will be bullshit.”

Many things about art felt futile to me during the first few weeks of October just after the walk, yet, the projects that kept making space for people to grieve, move, rest, reflect and be creative and active together (connect with their sense of self-expression and agency) kept making sense, and their resourcing and imagining role in the ecosystem of resistance also became clearer to me. I saw one of the walkers for the first time since the walk this January, and as we shared our memories of the event and I pointed out that it had happened the day before October 7th, they reflected that this walk had filled their well and prepared them for the weeks that followed.

Therefore, if I was being asked “which one of these means of expression would you choose?” I, too, like Amanda Piña at the start of the walk, and like Violeta Parra before her, would answer: “I would choose to stay with the people.”

Walk participants in Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen – photo credit Thomas Lenden

Thank you to Amanda Piña and Leonel Lienlaf for sharing your rich practices with us.

Thank you to my classmates Lina Bravo Mora and Pau Chavez Bonilla, and my teachers/mentors Mar Maiques and María Reyes Diaz from Otra Escuela, for introducing me to mestizo ch’ixi consciousness and the philosophies of Abya Yala.

Thank you to Mayıs Rukel and Kat Bentley for the exchanges about this piece of writing.

Thank you to Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca for the invitation to write this reflective piece, and for your understanding of my crip non-linear writing time/scale.